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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  March 30, 2011 2:00am-3:00am EDT

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how do we know when we've won? let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chuck todd in washington filling in for chris matthews, who's in israel on assignment. leading off tonight, the day after. what everyone seems to agree on is that the president did a good job explaining why we went into libya. what's still unclear is how we plan to get out. republicans are in some cases predictably condemning the president's speech for the lack of that, but even democratic support has been a bit tepid. ultimately the president will be judged by whether we win, but what does winning look like? is it simply getting rid of gadhafi? let's get ready to rumble. comedian and commentator bill
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maher joins us. we'll get his take on the tea party, libya, the race for the republican nomination, and then there's donald trump among other things. and speaking of trump, we said last week he dipped a toe into the birther waters. now he's dived in head first and declared the waters fine, come on in and he's producing his own birth certificate. is trump serious about being a birther or is he just serious about getting a little bit of attention? also the shutdown showdown. the democrats are trying to drive a wedge between the mainstream republicans and the tea party, but let's face it, when democrats and republicans are not arguing over whether to cut but how much to cut, then the republicans are winning this message war. finally, is it possible for the u.s. to become a country of secular atheists that is also ruled by radical islamists? newt gingrich seems to think so. that's in "the sideshow." we're going to start with president obama's speech on libya. howard fineman is the senior political editor for "the
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huffington post," and susan page. the washington bureau chief for "usa today" and i have to call her madam president of the gridiron. and she's on there today. howard and susan, at first we outlined four questions for president obama to answer in his speech and today we'll see how he did. first, take a look at some of the republican responses to the speech since he gave it. >> he made a very puzzling comment, and that was regime change by force would be a mistake. gadhafi must have been somewhat comforted by that. >> now we're in this position of having a president of the united states saying gadhafi must go but we're not going to necessarily make him go. >> how our commander in chief chose to handle this new dilemma raises serious questions about his understanding of constitutional checks and balances. while the president is the commander of our armed forces, he is not a king. >> howard fineman, i want to
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read a little of what richard lugar said. he said the president still has not clearly stated what our goals are or what would constitute success. the president did not provide estimates for the cost of our military intervention and humanitarian aid to the libyan people. by the way, john mccain couched that criticism early on howard later today in a speech. yesterday he was a little tougher on the president than he was today. i almost wonder if the white house said cut us a little slack on this regime change argument. but overall, the republican criticism, where do they have a point? >> well, i would look to dick lugar for that because he's not running for president an he's regarded as the dean of serious republican foreign policy analysts. and i think when dick lugar says what's the end game? how do you define victory? and what is it going to cost? and how are we really going to be involved henceforth, i think those are legitimate questions that serious people of all stripes have about this and that the president didn't answer.
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>> susan page, i'm going to play one of the president's bites from last night. it was in response a little bit to how we framed our question, what happens the next time there's a humanitarian crisis. here's what the president said on this. >> some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. the united states of america is different. and as president, i refuse to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action. >> susan page, on this question there seemed to be a little bit of conflict in the speech. on one hand the president said libya was a special case. on the other hand he made this a little broader statement which gave you a hint at what the obama doctrine was in a case like this. >> well, the obama doctrine seems to be if there's a big humanitarian crisis looming, and we can act to help, we will, except if we don't have international support. or except if -- i mean it's not exactly a clear, bright, primary color kind of doctrine, it's something that mitt romney criticized as knew
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wanted. nuanced. supporters would say nuance is a good thing in a complicated world. but i think you could read that entire speech and not be clear on exactly the circumstances which would command u.s. military response and those that would not. i think that's a fair criticism of the speech. >> yeah, chuck. i think, you know what, it wasn't so much a doctrine as a statement of a process for deciding things. it was very legalistic. >> in fact it was not a process. it was not a big picture speech, it was a small. >> having been through law school and sat and listened to how law professors analyze things. here's the big principle but here are the three or four qualifiers. we have to apply cost, we have to apply coalition, we have to apply amount of humanitarian danger. so it was a process of his thinking more than a doctrine. >> here's a little bit more of the president essentially offering up a taste of this obama doctrine, and let's see if you guys agree with that. >> in this particular country, libya, at this particular
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moment, we were faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale. we had a unique ability to stop that violence. an international mandate for action. a broad coalition prepared to join us. the support of arab countries. and a plea for help from the libyan people themselves. >> susan page, that goes to what you were just saying he set a pretty high bar in how this gets syria, which has been the questions that this administration has been getting the last 24 hours. >> i guess i disagree with howard. he has laid out a doctrine, he said there are times we'll act and times we will not. that is not very satisfying to partisans on either side who would like a stronger statement
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of principle, but it may be the way the world works at this moment. >> gray area, howard, is basically the argument. >> susan and i are arguing over semantics. >> yes, you're agreeing thats disagree a bit. >> it's a doctrine of process. in the case of libya, he laid out about five or six different criteria for having made the decision that he'd made. he didn't add cost, whereas later on in the speech he said, oh, by the way, it's also if we can afford it. so we have to have a coalition, we have to have support from the region, a call from the people, we have to have a severe humanitarian crisis, and we have to be able to afford to do it with the kinds of weapons that we have. the other thing that he said in the speech was in this case, our air power -- >> unique capabilities. >> we had unique capabilities. >> that's a phrase that's become oft used. >> very legalistic but very obama-esque kind of doctrine. >> the second question we posed, what's the end game for u.s. involvement? here's how the president dealt with that last night. >> going forward, the lead in
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enforcing the no-fly zone and protecting civilians on the ground will transition to our allies and partners, and i am fully confident that our coalition will keep the pressure on gadhafi's remaining forces. in that effort, the united states will play a supporting role, including intelligence, logistical support, search and rescue assistance and capabilities to jam regime communications. >> now, susan page, a mere supporting role. we're 22% of the funding that goes into nato. that is combined -- that is more than france and britain's contribution to nato combined. is he sort of -- this is sort of hiding behind nato, which is really a u.s.-led organization. >> it's not as though by turning over command responsibilities to nato somehow the united states is not a part of it. but the language he used that talked about we're going to play a supporting role, very much in line with where u.s. public opinion is.
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we had a poll out last night that showed that six out of ten americans want to have no role at all or a minor role. only 10% want the u.s. to really be taking the lead in this. so he's addressing, i think, concerns americans have that we've got a war in afghanistan, a war in iraq. we do not need to be taking the lead on a third war in that part of the world. >> howard, let me throw to a presidential bite about the specific topic of costs. >> because of this transition to a broader nato-based coalition, the risk and costs of this operation to our military and to american taxpayers will be reduced significantly. >> now, our pentagon correspondent, jim miklaszewski, broke this down for us. so far it's cost $600 million over eight days, the u.s. portion of it. as it gets handed over to nato, it's going to cost approximately $40 million a day, i believe. >> well, that's compared to nearly a trillion, as he said in the iraq war.
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it's a sliding scale of conscience and cost for this president. that's very pragmatic. it's a mix of high intention and cold-eyed pragmatism. that's the mix that the president has tried to project throughout his campaign and presidency. that's what he's trying to sell to the american people now. >> susan page, there's something about his speech last night, what he said during the campaign, what he said when he accepted the nobel peace prize. there is a remarkable consistency here on how he wants to use military power. it just seems, as you pointed out, it's not black and white. >> that's right. it's very consistent. last night's speech with his nobel peace prize speech, where he talked about the importance of multilateral action, not the unilateral action that george w. bush favored. that means there are times that you might delay giving a speech like he did last night. it might be a time when you make compromises or articulating what the goals are.
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multilateral action is different in its nature than the go it alone stance we saw for eight years under george bush. there is no inconsistency on this issue with where obama stood during the campaign, in the early years of his presidency, and right now. >> very quickly, howard. were you surprised by the iraq shot? >> that he mentioned iraq? >> yes. >> no, because it was part of his explaining this sort of calculus of how you decide things and how it's different. i think it made sense within the context of the speech. >> howard fineman, madam president susan page, i'll always get that right, because i think i'm always being hazed at this point, thank you both. coming up, the one and only in "real time" right here, bill maher. we'll get his take on the race for the republican nomination. i think his favorite candidate, michele bachmann, now, the ticket that he's hoping for, bachmann/trump or bachman turner overdrive.
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we learned federal prosecutors have been considering manslaughter charges against the executives of bp in the wake of last year's oil spill in the gulf of mexico. the associated press in bloomberg reported that manslaughter charges could be brought against the managers on board the deepwater horizon rig that exploded killing those 11 workers. in addition, investigators are looking for discrepancies in congressional testimony by bp executives, including then ceo
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tony hayward to determine if they lied about the explosion and the spill. this is going to be messy. we'll be right back.
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r hat into the ring. we think she's going to be running for president. for those who find sarah palin too intellectual, michele bachmann for president. as a comedian, all i can say is where can i donate for this cause. >> welcome back to "hardball." bill maher's show "real time" is currently in its ninth season going strong and his brand of no holds barred politically correct comedy makes it an interesting thing to watch every friday night for a lot of us on hbo. mr. maher, welcome to "hardball." apologies that chris isn't here to give you a hard time. let me start with last night's speech, the president, libya, you were pretty tough on how
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this country got brought into two wars over the last ten years. did the president explain it to you better than he did the last ten days? >> i thought i was pretty clear on it from the beginning. but there's a lot of folks in this country, mostly on the right, who, of course, are going to oppose him no matter what he says so he keeps having to explain it over and over again. you know, this is not a news cycle president. i think that's one thing that bothers them so much. he works on his time, the right time. he did everything right. you know, he got the americans out of libya. then he formed a coalition. then he led the bombing campaign. of course we should bo fst cause he e owowow toick butt. that's what america does very well, especially in that part of the world. then he passed it off to other people so that we don't have the cost and we don't have to be holding the bag if something goes wrong. i don't know how anyone can look at this and say this is exactly
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how it should have been done. i don't back the president on everything, but on this one, yeah, i think he did everything right. and yet i saw a poll today, i think it was a reuters poll, like a small percentage of people see him as a strong and decisive leader, but they say he's cautious and consultative, like they're somehow mutually exclusive. why can't cautious and consultative also mean you're strong? i think it can. >> we're in a twitter news environment, bill, don't you know that? i want to go to, you've been getting hammered in the conservative blogosphere among a lot of conservative talk show hosts about some off-color comments you made about both sarah palin and michele bachmann. any regrets on what you said? >> well, you know, i've been through this so many times. i mean there's a lot of people in america who have, of course, nothing to do except look for something to get mad at. and i've been a frequent target. and i'm happy to provide that service.
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so, you know, i always say, as i've said many times in these kind of situations, if i hurt somebody's feelings, i'm always sorry about that, i'm not trying to hurt somebody's feelings. but if you want me to say i'm sorry what i said was wrong, no, sorry, i can't go there. i know they were upset about -- what i was -- i was in dallas sunday night doing my stand-up comedy show and apparently i was so off-color. in dallas, you know, the bastion of liberalism. here's the headline from the review. nothing but love from maher. on the next page, maher a hit in dallas. that's the other headline. that's from "the dollars morning news." so i go by the community standard. standard. you know, people have won cases about pornography based on this. they say, well, you know, if the community says it's okay. and apparently the community -- i mean, you hear the laughter. if the audience likes it, i think that's where the community standard is. am i a little more out there than the rest of the guys?
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yeah. and i want to stay out there. that's what i do. that's why people watch it. but i don't really think i'm beyond where the community is. >> what do you say about yourself when somebody says you're a member of the media and you say i'm an entertainer i'm a comedian. but you're a member of the media, and you're a comedian. do you have different rules than i have? >> yes, i do, chuck. i have to be funny. because i'm a comedian. >> fair enough. >> and that is like a very, very big rule that bill o'reilly and like a lot of other people do not have to follow. yes, do i think that gives you a little more license? i certainly do. because we're all just, you know, folks with an opinion at the end of the day. now, you're a little more of a reporter. you know, you do some real journalism work and i appreciate that and i take my cap off for that. and people who are like covering
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wars, you know, the richard engels of the world, those are real men. i mean i'm not -- believe me, i'm not comparing myself to people like that who do real work and get information that i can then comment on. but as far as for the people who just sit behind a desk in a studio and give their opinion, i think if you're going to do that, at least be funny about it. >> speaking of funny, the whole michele bachmann thing, as you've said, it's been a gold mine to you. it seems to me liberals in particular are obsessed with her. what i find funny about it is her own party rejected her. her own party said we don't want you a member of leadership. john boehner and eric cantor they did everything they could to orchestrate to make sure she was not a face of the house republicans. and what did she do? she said okay, i'm going to iowa. and guess what, she's now looking like the face of the republicans. >> well, of course this is something that the democrats will want to promote. if you were the leadership of the democratic party, wouldn't you want to do this exact
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strategy? get sarah palin and michele bachmann and other people like that out there as the face of the party, because you have to understand iowa especially is a roach motel for republican candidates. they crawl in with their crazy stuff about social issues and saying insane stuff about the president not being an american and all this stuff. but when it comes time for the general election, they have to crawl back out and they can't do that. i mean that -- that's why mitt romney, i think, now is probably looking like he's going to skip iowa. >> he's not even going to announce. he has yet to announce, and you start to wonder if he just wants to stay away from this. >> yes. i mean it's a terrible trap for republican candidates who -- now, we all know america does have a short memory, but still, what you say during the campaign, the primary campaign, is going to come back in commercials in the general
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election. and what they have to say to win the nomination and to win iowa, and by the way, i love iowa. i used to spend time in iowa. >> i have relatives buried in iowa. yeah, don't diss on iowa. more relatives of mine are buried in iowa than any other state. >> it's just a small group of fanatics who control the republican iowa caucuses present this problem for their party and they're not doing that party a favor, but don't let them hear me say that. you're doing your party a favor. >> let me ask you this. you are to me one of the guys that made comedy central the channel something to watch over the last couple of decades when you had "politically incorrect" on there did you ever think that one of the celebrity roastees, who most recently it was donald trump, would be taken seriously as a presidential candidate? well, let me ask you, do you take him seriously as a presidential candidate? >> i don't take him seriously even as a guy who runs casinos. and, you know, after this --
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and he's a charming guy in person. >> steve wynn won't let him into vegas, and that says a lot. >> when you meet him in person, you can't not like him. >> very likeable. >> you know, he's a salesman. he's very likeable. a major bser. i mean, he's been telling me. i'm glad you mentioned "politically incorrect" because we were there from 1993 to 1996. we were in new york that time. don has been telling me he's going to be doing my show since 1993. and he's never appeared once. he called me a couple of weeks ago, i'm coming on. i said, don, it's been 18 years now. that's a -- i know you're busy, but that's very busy that you have not found a hole in your schedule. bill, i'm coming on, i'm coming on. and i think he's doing it to forestall me making jokes about him. but, don, i've got to tell you, i'm going to make jokes anyway. but it just amuses me. and by the way, this stuff where
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he's coming out as a birther. i like don and i've stayed at his hotel. i cannot stay in a birther hotel, i swear to god. that's all i think now when i see trump is birther. birther hotel. >> why do you think he's doing it? do you buy that he really believes it? >> i do not buy that. i've got to think he's serious about running for president. lo wives, which probably doesn't go down that great with social conservatives. so he's got to do something to get his bona fide crazies up. because, again, when you crawl into the roach motel in iowa, you've got to crawl in crazy. so he's doubling down on birther stuff. >> well, i think you will -- i think your caveat on iowaen will will make it so you don't get too much hate mail. growing up in miami, i grew up with roach motels all the time. about maher, thank you very much. >> oh, i love iowa. >> "realtime" airs friday nights, 10:00 p.m. on hbo. on april 17th, you're performing at the morris arts center in south bend, indiana. go irish. april 21st at the memorial
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auditorium in raleigh, north carolina. >> i love the red states, chuck. >> wait, both were blue states in '08, brother. >> that's right. nights, 10:00 p.m. on hbo. on april 17th, you're performing at the morris arts center in south bend, indiana. go irish. april 21st at the memorial auditorium in raleigh, north carolina. >> i love the red states, chuc >> wait, both were blue states in '08, brother. >> that's right. >> all right. up next -- thank you, bill. newt gingrich thinks the united states is becoming a country of secular atheists but will also be ruled by radical islamists. if that sounds like a paradox, that's why it's in the side show. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. thank you for calling esurance.
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back to "hardball." time for the side show.
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first up, marco rubio breaks his silence. the florida senator sat down this week for his first national interview. the topic du jour, you guessed it, 2012. >> are you not ready to be president? >> i just got elected three months ago so how can i be a full-time senator if my eye is on running for something else? >> are you qualified? >> now you're asking me something different. you're asking -- even speculating about it is problematic. when you speculate what you're basically saying is i'm thinking about something other than the job -- >> i'm not asking you to speculate. >> no, you are asking me to speculate. >> we can -- >> i'm not running for president in 2012. >> no way. >> no. >> well, i tell you, i know he wants to shut the door, but do i have a clear vision? hmm. that also means rubio is leaving ample room maybe to accept the number two slot? that's where my money has been quite some time. next up, remember roy moore? he's back.
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he's the one-time alabama judge famous for building a ten commandments monument outside of the courthouse. it was a stunt which ultimately cost judge moore his job.orngd with this idea of running for president. he says he may do it again. an aide says moore will announce that he's setting up an exploratory committee in mid-april. moving on, newt gingrich in overdrive on sunday.poke before pastor john hagge's church in texas. in that speech, gingrich warned of a takeover by atheist radical islamists. quote, i have two grandchildren, maggie is 11, robert is 9. i am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of america, by the time they're my age, they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an american. secular islamists. anyway, kind of tough. you have to be one or the other, tough to be both at the same time.
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then again, a spokesman later clarified saying that gingrich meant to add an "or" between those two scenarios. okay. on a lighter note, patrick kennedy has given up bachelor life. no american royal family on the market anymore. the 43-year-old former congressman, son of the late ted kennedy, got engaged this weekend to a middle school teacher in new jersey. as for his post-politics career, kennedy has helped a fellowship at brown university is coming out with a memoir in november of this year. now to tonight's big number. think the birther conspiracies are dying down? think again. a new cnn poll out this week, how many republicans say that they think the president wasn't born in the united states? ready for this number? 43%. almost four -- more than four in ten republicans believe that the
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president was probably not born here or definitely not born here. that number continues to go up over the last four years as this conversation continues to be had. makes you wonder if maybe we should stop having this conversation. anyway, tonight's big number. up next, shutdown showdown. democrats are trying to drive a wedge between mainstream republicans and the tea party. republicans trying to drive a wedge between senate democrats and the white house. but as the budget battle wears on, republicans are the ones winning the message war it seems. that's ahead. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc.
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ask me.
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just as the tea party forced mainstream republicans into extreme territory before, they are doing it again. at this point, the only hurdle left to a bipartisan deal, the only obstacle in the way is the tea party. mr. speaker, it's time to forget the tea party and take the deal. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was new york senator chuck schumer today. senate democrats are trying to divide house republicans in this budget fight. speaker boehner's spokesman responded, quote, senator schumer is not part of the cr negotiations and he is making up fairy tales trying to derail serious discussions on funding the government and cutting spending, because he believes his party would benefit from a government shutdown. at this point the house has passed a bill to fund the government through the end of the year while cutting spending. the senate has not. and senator schumer's inaccurate
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rants won't change that. that seems to be the stalemate today. do the democratic talking points tell us that republicans have the upper hand right now? in a moment we'll talk to georgia republican congresswoman paul brown. first we're joined by south carolina congressman james clyburn who's the assistant democratic leader on the minority side there. congressman clyburn, nice to see you. >> thank you so much for having me. >> i want to start with what seems to be -- there's a message war here. forgive me for being cynical, but the republican talking point of the day seems to be the senate democrats haven't come up with a plan, we've passed two. the senate democratic talking point of the day seems to be oh, look at the house republicans, they have been captured by the tea party. you know, congressman, does this mean we're not going anywhere in these negotiations, that we're stuck in a stalemate of talking points? >> well, i would hope not. i think the fight still remains that the ball right now is on the -- in the house court. we've done since the lame duck when we did $41 billion, we've
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now done two short-terms $4 billion and $6 billion that gets us to $51 billion. i think it's up to us now to come up with something within the next two weeks. i hope it will be a long-term cr because i think that we make a mistake if we don't think that these short-term crs do not have adverse impact on families. we seem to be thinking only in terms of what's good for us up here in washington and what's good for us politically. the fact of the matter is we are fighting two wars. we have action going on in pakistan, action going on over in libya, and the families of these men and women need stability in their lives. so we ought to get serious about doing a long-term cr so that
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everybody can stabilize their families and their businesses. >> but why shouldn't senate democrats -- why shouldn't they offer up a plan in this back and forth? do house republicans have a point when they say they have thrown out a couple of different plans, they have passed a couple of these things. why not have the senate democrats do a full-fledged plan. instead they have been going behind the scenes. >> well, todd, you know i never get into the business of trying to figure out why the senate will do anything. >> congress is -- there's bipartisanship -- or there's partisanship that's called the house versus the senate. >> that's exactly right. i think that's what's going on here a little bit. the fact of the matter is we got serious back during the lame duck. democrats cut $41 billion out of the continuing resolution before putting it forward. now since that time we see that the republicans have come up with only $10 billion. now we know that the white house has made it very clear, the
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senators have been very clear on another $20 billion. that gets us around $71 billion. i always say, chuck, that if the distance between me and the other person are five steps, i don't mind taking three of them. i think if you look at this, we've taken more than three steps. we're trying to meet them more than halfway and they seem not to be willing to do a deal. >> okay. we'll get to the other side on that in a second. congressman clyburn, thanks very much. let's now go to republican congressman paul brown of georgia. congressman, i want to ask you this issue of this idea that maybe house republicans are a little bit divided between where the leadership is and the deal they may be willing to cut with the white house versus where the tea party caucus is within the
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republican house caucus. is there a split between the two? >> i don't think so, chuck. thanks for having me tonight. actually the split is between the democrats who i believe are planning and have been since the lame duck session to shut down the federal government for political purposes. in fact they could have passed a long-term cr that would have taken us through this whole fiscal year. but nancy pelosi refused to do so. she gave us one through march the 4th. why would she do that? i think it's their plan politically to shut down the government so that they can elect barack obama, put nancy pelosi back in the speaker's chair, give harry reid a bigger majority in the senate so they could force through their government high spending type of agenda that's killing jobs in america. i think that's been their object all along since the lame duck session. and house republicans are just proposing some actually meager cuts to begin this process.
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when you're talking about a $3.8 trillion federal budget, cutting just $61 billion is just a pittance. it just needs to be a beginning. >> congressman, as you know, the white house has said they're not going to sign a bill, any sort of long-term continuing resolution or short term that contains so-called riders. these political statements that are trying to defund npr, defund planned parenthood. are you going to be able to support a deal, a compromise, that doesn't include these riders? do you believe that any bill has to include these riders or you won't support it? >> chuck, we need to talk about where we're going to cut in the federal government and those so-called riders are just cuts of various programs. i don't believe in across-the-board cuts. we need to cut specific programs. we need to make major cuts. we're facing an economic emergency in america. and it is absolutely critical that we start sending powers
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back to the states and the people. we are headed towards an economic collapse of america if we don't stop this outrageous spending and borrowing that nancy pelosi, harry reid and barack obama have been doing. and we've got to stop it. we're in a critical situation. when you're in a critical situation, you have to take emergency measures and we need to cut -- >> but it sounds like these riders you're willing to let it go. >> i'm willing to talk and compromise over which federal program we're going to start cutting, but we've got to make major cuts, that's just the long and short of it, to create jobs in america and put us back on the right economicooting as a nation. >> congressman paul brown, i've got to leave it there. >> thank you. >> thank you for your time. up next, as wisconsin goes, so goes ohio. ohio is on the verge of limiting union bargaining rights to a far greater degree than anything that's been discussed in wisconsin. can the unions win this fight? this one could actually be at a ballot box this november. this is "hardball" only on msnbc.
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huckabee and romney lead the rpt field in a new pew policy, but there's a religious divide. 30% of regular church goers and evangelicals like mike huckabee. former pastor, while 24% of those who don't go to church regularly prefer mitt romney. huckabee hasn't decided whether he'll run yet but he has said he hasn't made a decision not to run. by the way, haley barbour has been courting huckabee support. we'll be right back. leme tell yoabout a very important phone call i made. when i got my medicare card, i realized i needed an aarp... medicare supplement insurance card, too. medicare is one of the great things about turning 65,
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so you can find one that fits your needs and budget. with all medicare supplement plans, there are virtually no claim forms to fill out. m pls rp when they told me these plans were endorsed by aarp... i had only one thing to say... sign me up. call the number on your reen now... and find out about an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan. you'll get this free information kit... and guide to understanding medicare, to help you choose the plan that's right for you. as with all medicare supplement plans, you can keep your own doctor and hospital that accepts medicare, get help paying for what medicare doesn't... and save up to thousands of dollars. call this toll-free number now. we are back. this afternoon in ohio a house committee approved a measure on a party line vote that will curb
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the collective bargaining rights for public employees, sending it to the full house for a vote as soon as tomorrow. this bill then would go even further than the one that passed in wisconsin and should it go through, unions plan on fighting this bill with a referendum on the ballot in november of this year. imagine the stakes on that one. so for more on the politics of this battle, in joined by chris cillizza, and clarence page. chris, let me start with start with you. a referendum in ohio. we have seen these in ohio before. they are one of the few states east of the mississippi that does a lot of ref ren dums with legislation. this would be huge. can labor get this on the ballot. obviously think they have a better shot winning this battle there than in the legislature? >> look, the short answer is we don't know. look at wisconsin, if you believe what labor and the democratic party there is saying, they have more than 50%
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of the signatures they need to get some of these recall elections going in the spring and summer of this year. so look, the unions have the organizational heft theoretically to collect signatures and get it on the ballot. from my perspective. if they get it on the ballot, what a fascinating thing to have on the ballot. in ohio, it will be a trial heat for the turnout operations and everything else. this will be as big, if not bigger, than anything else on the ballot in 2011, if unions are able to get it on there, and that's a heavy lift. >> clarence page, want to show you this poll on governor kasich in ohio. not as high profile as scott walker and wisconsin. 30% approve, 46% disapprove. can't help if it has something to do with the fights he is having in columbus in the state legislature. charlie cook has a theory that maybe the public isn't paying attention, maybe it is the ones paying attention to the fight
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and that it isn't seeping into mainstream. what say you? >> i say there's a lot of truth to that, which actually i say bodes well for unions if they have the referendum. with the mid term election, it is already out. intensity is everything. there will be a lot of intensity with union people, and this poll showed a lot of sympathy for collective bargaining, especially if you call it collective bargaining rights. >> the word rights matters a lot. >> it matters a lot. you can get over the top as far as over half the voters. er pemiesrntas ke wisconsin, like illinois. these are tough issues. the general public, though, may get more excited on behalf of union folks once they start knocking on doors, making phone calls. >> and very quickly, we've seen some republican governors in other states back off of this
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fight. >> yes. mitch daniels notably, rick snyder in michigan backed off. i do think that scott walker did what happened there turn him into a national heel, yes. is wisconsin the redoubt of conservativism? no. so good for him nationally, probably bad locally. same for chris christie. bad for him locally, bad for him nationally. both these guys have to get reelected there. >> clarence, stay with us, we are going to have a little fun. donald trump and what he is betting on for his presidential campaign. more on that straight ahead. this is "hardball" only on msnbc. we are back with donald 3q double shift... i need a break. he needs some gellin'.
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yeahhhhhhh. gellin' is like having a teeny tiny foot masseuse in your shoe. you like ? nice ! dr. scholl's massaging gel insoles. ouageousrt allo.
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we are back with donald trump's possible candidacy for president. he calls for the president to release his official birth certificate which of course he has done umpteen times, it was posted online, all those things, this is the certified copy the state of ohio gives you, a serve live birth. he released a certificatetive cat of birth. now he released the right one. the obvious answer is publicity. but there's more to it.
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>> i mean. look, chuck, i think you have to take him semi seriously, for a couple reasons. he is known to anybody on the street, go up to them, they know who he is. he can spend $600 million on this campaign. these things that seem to be either like you said a publicity move or just a transparent play to the conspiracy thee orist element, doesn't make sense. i don't think it will work. it doesn't speak like someone serious about it. and we have indications he is somewhat serious. kind of a path -- this is a dead end. he is headed towards a political coldness, whether he knows it or not. >> clarence, that's what i don't understand. if he wants to be america's salesman, which in some ways, i want to get in there, beat up the chinese, get good trade deals, what is going on with the
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birtherism? >> bill maher made a good point earlier that the whole social christian conservative wing of the party is taken now, he is in a difficult position as far as reaching out to them, no better than rudy giuliani was. what's interesting to me, by taking this birther stance, by challenging president obama's birth certificate, he enhances his chance as a candidate, if he becomes one. >> do you believe that? do you think this enhances his chance? >> i don't think he is going to be a candidate. but i think in this party, yes, i do. why does the speaker of the house himself while he says he believes obama say i can't help it. that kind of attitude -- >> i think it is a small element of the party. there is no
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